Friday, 22 July 2011
“When Alexander had crossed the desert and reached the oasis, he was welcomed by the priest of Ammon on behalf of the god as a son being welcomed by a father…he asked, grant that he should rule over all men? The god replied that this would be granted to him.” (Plutarch, Alexander 27)
Did the oracle come true?
I believe so. Alexander the Great in his lifetime had conquered all of Persia, conquered all up to the River Beas in India. All the battles he had fought with ingenuity and in full embracement that he in fact was a god. Much to the dismay of the Greek within his army, he began to practice the Persian tradition of proskynesis--the act of bowing down with face to the floor at their leader. This was horrific to the Greek in his army, for a leader was a friend among soldiers to them. This in a way led to the mutiny of Beas in 326BC, his troops mutinied him, and he turned around and died soon thereafter.
Was Alexander ruler of the whole of mankind?
Yes, though for a short period. After conquering the world, at the height of his rule--he died at the age of 33. Not by the arrow of any man, or by the flesh wounds sustained in a battle. But he died by the rot in his own body. It’s still wildly contested how he died, many like Plutarch say he died of a fever, while Diodorus says that he died of drinking some undiluted wine and died quickly. Either way, he had gained the whole world yet had no time to enjoy it at all. Moreover, the title of shahansha meaning King of Kings was taken up by Alexander--the correct term for a Persian leader.
The reality is: God controls the life of all man. He can end one just as easy as he can sustain one beyond years he deserves.
“Meanwhile embassies [in Spring 324BC] came from Greece, and the ambassadors, themselves wearing crowns, approached Alexander and crowned him with golden crowns, as if they had come as sacred envoys to honour a god. And yet Alexander’s end was not far off.” (Arrian 7.23.2)
“On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!" Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.”
But the word of God increased and multiplied.” (Acts 12v.21-24)
Who is great but God? Was Alexander or any other man in history so great that he could control his comings and goings? What is the purpose of gaining the whole world but losing your soul?